Last week I wrote about device optimisation which adds a much needed bit of pragmatism to the holy grail of timeless, device-agnostic website design.
I touched on a technique that I’ll expand here because it can be used more generically. If you’re going for a responsive layout with interactive elements this makes a massive difference to UX.
Relative & Responsive
Consider the hero of our theoretical home page design: a full width photo carousel. When the user clicks left or right, or swipes, a new image slides into view from one side.
A Noticeable Effect?
When we add interactivity we purposely slow things down with transitions. This is a good thing; the user has chance to see what’s going on. But move things too slowly and frustration will quickly rise. Move things automatically and the user may not even notice (auto-play/auto-rotate sucks).
The perceivable different in my example above is only noticeable towards the larger extremes. If an elements width only varies between a couple hundred pixels it’s probably not worth worrying about.
One More Thing…
It’s also worth considering that on touch screens the user implies their desired reaction time.
Think of a casual swipe verses an aggressive “get on with it!” swipe. The iPhone’s natural scroll takes this into account and is very responsive as a result. This is hugely valuable information we don’t get with a mouse click. Reacting to the user is the best way to improve their experience.
Something to think about!